Down, up and out in London Fashion Week

Tina Knowles and Beyonce Knowles at The Launch Of House Of Dereon By Beyonce And Tina Knowles at Selfridges on September 17.

New York may have all the commercial buzz, Milan the luxury and Paris the respect, but when it comes to wild creativity and fun, London wins every time.  This is the city that produced John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Phoebe Philo and Stella McCartney, after all. We boil the fashion calendar’s shortest, but jam-packed week down for you.

The best party atmosphere: Topshop Unique

Philip Green’s high street extravaganza feels like a hotter and hotter ticket with each season. A pre-show cocktail hour filled with snacks, bubbly and famous faces (Anna Wintour, Naomi Campbell and Kelis) set the stage for what ended up feeling like one big party. The clothes were a clever mix of urban street wear and opulent Egyptian references (think: jersey track pants with gold hieroglyphic prints or a column dress covered in gold foil scarab beetles,) while the soundtrack (Jay-Z and Missy Elliott) literally had guests head-bobbing and lipsyncing in their seats.

The new name to know: J.W. Anderson

The Brit has only been designing women’s wear for a little over a year, but is already on the tongues of nearly every major editor. The biggest selling point: Unusually constructed clothing that boasts rarefied craftsmanship, at affordable prices. Keep an eye out for his patchworked leather, mesh and cotton jackets and trousers, which are sure to be some of spring’s most wanted, come 2012. But he’s still got some room for growth, as made clear by a series of unfortunate dresses made out of cardigan sweaters.

The most attractive looking front row: Mulberry

Kate Moss, Kristen Stewart, Olivia Palermo and Hayley Atwell all showed up to check out Mulberry’s sunny collection of beach-inspired dresses and handbags.

The most anticipated celebrity sighting: Beyoncé Knowles

Bey had fashion week goers bracing for a baby bump sighting when word circulated that she had been shopping at Selfridge’s. But at press time, she had yet to actually turn up at any shows.

The best footwear: Paul Smith

His collection was filled with covetable tailored jackets and trousers in a range of fits (high waisted and baggy, slim and cropped, long and slouchy.) But his shoes are what really stole the show. They came in all manner of color and texture ways (ponyskin, suede, leather, neon yellow, blue, leopard print, you name it) and make a good alternative for women who will want to add the season’s trendy colors to their wardrobes in small doses.


The most impressive turnaround: Vivienne Westwood

Just when you thought the Dame was resting on her draped, bias-cut laurels, she goes and does something that looks exciting and new: a series of men’s wear inspired suiting that showed off her iconic flair for tailoring in a young and modern way.


The biggest crowd favorite: Christopher Kane’s shiny, pretty things

His expertly constructed, shimmery brocade and crystal embroidered dresses had the audience, which included Kanye West, Samantha Cameron and Anna Wintour, on their feet, whooping and hollering at the end of the show. You would have thought it were a rock concert.


The most most surprising moment: Burberry Prorsum’s Africa moment

Granted, the brand’s ethnic-looking resort collection hinted at the fact that Christopher Bailey would be looking to Africa for spring. Still, it was a pleasant surprise to see the old heritage brand going left field with wild wax prints and traditional African shapes.


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